Saturday, 6 November 2021

It takes one to know one and causation/correlation

From MSN News:

The climate activist Greta Thunberg slammed Cop26 as a “failure” and a “PR event”. “The leaders are not doing nothing, they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destructive system,” she said.

The last three years of ms Thunberg's life have been a carefully managed and superbly successful PR event.

From the BBC:

Highly shared [Facebook] articles made false assertions that climate change was not confirmed by science or claimed to debunk it with data. Of these, 69% could be traced back to just 10 "super-polluter" publishers - dubbed the "toxic ten" - the campaign group found.

In fact, our understanding of climate change comes from analyses of millions of measurements gathered in different parts of the world. And multiple independent teams of scientists have reached the same result - a spike in temperatures coinciding with the onset of the industrial era. [Photo caption] Flooding in Indonesia has been linked to climate change- yet some online still deny its effects

Hang about here. If the clever scientists and weather forecasters say that the climate has changed over the past few decades, then I'm happy to accept it. I've no strong opinion on that either way.

What bugs me is the false logic that slightly higher atmospheric CO2 levels are the cause. They might well be the result of higher temperatures or it might be entirely coincidental.

The cornerstone of the Alarmist belief system is that the 33 degree Greenhouse Effect (sea level temperature minus Earth's effective temperature) is entirely due to 'greenhouse gases'. This belief is based on selectively ignoring the existence the cloud cover.

When we calculate Earth's (or Venus') effective temperature, what we are actually calculating is the expected temperature of the cloud cover, so a fair comparison is effective temperature vs actual temperature of the clouds.

If you do the like-for-like comparison (on Earth or on Venus) you observe that the Greenhouse Effect is precisely zero. So if 300 ppm CO2 has no measurable effect, then why would 420 ppm have any effect?

That's the line the Climate Deniers should be taking, not getting into pitched battles over whether the climate i.e. weather patterns are changing.


A K Haart said...

I like the word "independent". Does this mean they never cite other work, never talk to each other and never before had any meetings such as COP26?

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, and that. Doesn't matter though, we can't influence the weather by measuring it, however imprecisely. I'm hammering on about the 33 degree GHE being based on a Diagonal Comparison.

mombers said...

-What do you attribute the 5 fold increase in extreme weather events ( to if not human activity? Or do you have some analysis to debunk these figures to a statistically insignificant level?

-What actions agreed to at COP26 would you see changed? In particular, would you reverse the reduction is coal use and intensive animal agriculture. These have significant and indisputable externalities that are unrelated to CO2 or methane. Under Georgist principles, the exclusion of others from clean air and water should be reflected in market rate rents. This would make most of it uneconomical if natural resources had to be paid for

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, I have no opinion or expertise on "the weather". That is not the point.

Yes, pollution is a bad thing, animal cruelty is a bad thing.

I'm a Georgist so of course land and natural resources should be taxed to the max. This wouldn't make these activities uneconomical, it would just shift the unearned element from private to public hands.

That is not the point.

You want your kids to clean their teeth, and tell them if they don't, they will get toothache, have to go to the dentist to get fillings or teeth pulled, which involves nasty big injections. Fine. That is the rational way of doing things.

Telling them that if they don't clean their teeth then the Scary Monster will bite their feet off in the night time is idiotic.

Don't you understand, the 'evidence' for the greenhouse effect being caused by Greenhouse Gases is ENTIRELY FABRICATED? It is based on a Diagonal Comparison. CO2 has nothing to do with it.

mombers said...

MW, from the above I take it that you don't dispute that extreme weather events have become statistically significantly more common over the past 50 years. Unless you can provide a solid alternative explanation for this, I'm going to go with the scientific community - there are no credible alternatives.

I unfortunately don't have time to become a climate expert so I can't comment on whether I understand if the evidence is fabricated or not. So again, I defer to the tens of thousands of scientists who have devoted their careers to this.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, I neither accept nor dispute anything to do with the weather and have absolutely no opinion on Roman, Mediaeval or Modern Warm Periods, Dark Ages and Little Ages or what causes them. I think I have emphasised that often enough.

There is of course the point that higher temps leads to higher CO2 levels anyway. Cause and effect.

You don't need to delve very deep into the physics to spot a Diagonal Comparison, then apply basic physics and realise that you can explain the 33 degree apparent GHE very simply using GCSE level physics, no recourse to hocus pocus back radiation is required.

Shiney said...


Mombers - a bit dogmatic there. I'd refer you to a brainy scientist bloke cautioning against believing everything 'The Science' tells us:

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it's a way of thinking. We need to be sceptical."

And at the risk of being controversial.

Let us assume that AGW, MMGW, climate change/extinction, hell on earth caused by us sinners (or whatever) IS 'a thing' then surely a pigou tax of some sort would be in order to price in the externalities of making the planet burn.... yes? Say, a Carbon Tax. And then let 'the market' get on with dealing with the problem.

As per Stern? (who was asked the question of what to do and is possibly much brainier than me or Greta or most of those attending COP26).

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, I'm banging on about one simple point.

In the Gospel according to St James of Hansen ca. 1988, he correctly explains the basics. He then implicitly takes clouds into account in the first paragraphs and calculates a low effective temperature.

Fine so far.

Having correctly calculated the likely and actual temperature of clouds, he then says that the effective temperature he calculated should be the sea level surface temperature.

He cheerfully ignores clouds' existence and says that the only reason why the surface is warmer than the effective temperature is because of CO2 trapping radiation.

He correctly acknowledges that the lapse rate exists, but instead of explaining it properly (maybe he is one of the many who refuses to accept the obvious and correct explanation), again trots out some incorrect crap about CO2 trapping radiation.

He even says that the effective emitting altitude is determined by the amount of C02, when clearly that altitude is whatever the altitude of the clouds is, because they are the ones doing the emitting to space.

Between surface and clouds is a separate sub-system with simple rules, where to all intents you can ignore radiation and even convection and conduction.

THE ALARMISTS PRETEND THAT CLOUDS DON'T EXIST! That is my point. Once you realise that and accept that they do, you can iron all out the contradictions and inconsistencies in GHG theory and explain everything much better. There are then no contradictions or inconsistencies, which is a good measure of a valid explanation.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, correctly calculating the expected temp of clouds based on incoming sunshine, pretending that you've actually calculated the the expected sea level surface, and then explaining the difference between expected and actual sea level surface temps on GHG is about as idiotic as correctly calculating the likely temp at the Equator and saying that the Poles should be just as hot and that they are only cooler because the Dog Ate Your Homework.

Bayard said...

"-What do you attribute the 5 fold increase in extreme weather events ( to if not human activity?"

How about natural fluctuations? Everyone goes on about "climate change" as if it was something unprecedented, whereas all historical, archaeological and ice core records shows that the one consistent thing about the climate is its changeability. The reason why we now it's not due to human activity is that the climate has changed far more in the past, long before the apes that became Homo Sapiens had got anywhere near that point.

Bayard said...

Hang about here. If the clever scientists and weather forecasters say that the climate has changed over the past few decades, then I'm happy to accept it.

But they aren't, are they? "Climate change" is shorthand for "anthropogenic climate change" in the same way as "carbon" is shorthand for "carbon dioxide". This way the Alarmists can make those who, rightly, say that AGW is bunk look stupid by making it look as if they are saying that the climate isn't changing, exactly as in this article.

Shiney said...


Yep - you've done more research than me. And are probably right - I dunno.

All I was saying was IF you believe that AGW is a clear and present danger (I'm on the fence and humble enough to realise I don't know enough to decide one way or another) then look to Stern.... who did the research on what we should do given the AGW scenarios are plausible... for the course of action we should take.

Not a bunch of self-aggrandising muppets and PR shills at COP26.

Bayard said...

RS, if humans existed many millions of years ago, that is not incompatible with our having evolved from apes, it just makes that evolution older than is currently thought. There really isn't any credible alternative.

Re "religious muppets", one must give them the chance to prove their muppetry first, by challenging their beliefs. If their response is to engage in rational argument, then they are not muppets. If, however, all you get is a lot of ad homs, then yes, you can descend to the muppet level of discussion.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, they might use the term "climate change" and assume it can only mean "man made climate change" but that is their mistake and their problem.

The point is that the "man made" bit is based on a disgusting sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors, Diagonal Comparison.

There is some discussion as to how much weather patterns are changing, some say "not much" and others say "catastrophically", that is a separate debate and one in which I have zero interest, as we can't influence weather patterns by discussing them.

mombers said...

I'm just really struggling to see what you're trying to achieve here. You've obviously put a great deal of effort into it, but my observations are:

-You're not disputing a statistically significant increase in extreme weather events in the last 50 years
-Have not provided an alternative hypothesis for what's causing it
-Most proposals to reduce Co2 have very positive effects on 100% undisputed pollution problems

So what exactly does the world look like if you're right? Do we just assume it's a coincidence and carry on? Or assume it's a coincidence but still work to minimise non-CO2 pollution?

I'm also sure you could find trained physicists outside of climate research who could mark your homework. Maybe contact a university?

ontheotherhand said...

Members, please would you share you source for extreme weather events?

A century ago, almost half a million people died on average each year from storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme temperatures. Over the next 10 decades, global annual deaths from these causes declined 96%, to 18,000. In 2020, they dropped to 14,000.

Even the IPCC has been rowing back on the extreme weather narrative since 2013 when the report said that it has ‘low confidence’ that droughts and hurricanes have become worse globally, and the best it can say of extreme rainfall is that it thinks there have been more areas with increases than decreases.

Mark Wadsworth said...


"You're not disputing a statistically significant increase in extreme weather events in the last 50 years"

I neither dispute nor accept this, as it is irrelevant to the point I am making.

"Have not provided an alternative hypothesis for what's causing it"

Also irrelevant. The whole Alarmist thing say "there's a 33 deg GHE. CO2 causes it. Therefore more CO2 = warmer". The 33 degree GHE has bugger all to do with CO2, so the conclusion does not follow.

I assume natural fluctuations or possible CFC/ozone depletion.

"Most proposals to reduce Co2 have very positive effects on 100% undisputed pollution problems"

Agreed. But please tell your children the real reason why they should clean their teeth and not tell tales of the Scary Monster biting their legs off it they don't.

"I'm also sure you could find trained physicists outside of climate research who could mark your homework. Maybe contact a university?"

I don't make this stuff up! It's not new or original, it's just than any scientist who dares mention it gets decried as a Denier, de-platformed and sacked, gets their YT and FB videos taken down.

Here's the same explanation as regards Venus, by Clive Best, a moderate Alarmist. His words not mine. Read it and argue with him, he's better qualified than I am.

OTOH, exactly. People are arguing about how to interpret certain measurements. Conclusions range from "minimal" to "catastrophic".

Bayard said...

"B, they might use the term "climate change" and assume it can only mean "man made climate change" but that is their mistake and their problem."

Having looked at the BBC article, it's worse than that. Quoth the Beeb,

The Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said less than 10% of misleading posts were marked as misinformation.

So "climate change denial" is now on a par with "digital hate" and the Beeb is quoting a propaganda organisation. So much for "balanced reporting".

mombers said...

@MW how about you contact Exxon, Shell, BP, Saudi Aramco etc? They have enormous resources to source scientists who could do this simple work. Or are there in on the conspiracy in some way? Doesn't make sense given their business models

Barman said...

mombers, you might like to look at some of Tony Heller's videos on YouTube.

Tony looks at reports of 'Extreme Weather Events' and then does some research (old newspapers, etc.) to point out that they aren't extreme or unprecedented at all...

Your claim that such events have increased based on human activity simply have no scientific evidence behind them.

Try this one to get an idea of how 'science' and facts have been twisted beyond recognition by politicians.

Robin Smith said...

There are plenty of scientists across the spectrum, not just climate change ones, who have been censored.

It's no surprise that science 'follows the money' far more than it does science.

This has always been the way. So take care when exploiting the term 'science' for ones own ends in all disciplines.

Science is just one of a whole gamut of systemically corrupt social institutions. It cannot be relied on.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, I had wondered about that.

So let's say, Exxon et al pay for my giant tube to be attached to the London Eye that demonstrates once and for all that the lapse rate is gravity induced and has bugger all to do with CO2.

What then? If the media report the story it will be "evil hobby scientist and oil majors conspire to undermine consensus science", not "the consensus has been debunked".

Dinero said...

No one thinks the Lapse rate is cause by C02. Where did you get the idea that they do.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, because I have read dozens of Alarmist explanations - including Hansen's where they say exactly that.

Dinero said...

Have you got a citation for that, you will not find a citation for that.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Item 6 here

mombers said...

@MW Exxon et al must be worse muppets than the scientific community then. With billions of pounds on the table, can they not organise a piss up in a brewery?

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, I don't think they care. They hoodwink governments into enforcing E10 petrol instead of E5, as a result if which people's fuel consumption goes up by 5% a mile. They are largely indifferent to petrol taxes because demand is not price sensitive.

Dinero said...

the royspencer reference is saying there are two necessary components, gravity and churning.

relevant Encyclopedia Britannica -

"The dry adiabatic lapse rate for air depends only on the specific heat capacity of air at constant pressure and the acceleration due to gravity. The dry adiabatic lapse rate for the Earth’s atmosphere equals 9.8 °C per kilometre (28.3 °F per mile); thus, the temperature of an air parcel that ascends or descends 5 km (3 miles) would fall or rise 49 °C (85 °F), respectively."

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, the EB nails it. There's really not much more to say on the lapse rate.

= g/cv

There's a trade off between potential energy (which is the "g" part of the formula) and kinetic/thermal energy (which is the "cv" part of the formula.

I worked this out independently by sitting in my back garden and thinking about it. You don't need to worry about up or down movement, there are zillions of molecules all jiggling about, so there is a lapse rate even if air appears to be completely still.

Bayard said...

"They are largely indifferent to petrol taxes because demand is not price sensitive."

I'd dispute that: what would happen if the cost of road fuel went up to, say £5.00 a gallon?
The easiest way to get everyone to use less fossil fuels is to quadruple their cost. However, the Greenies and Alarmists don't want this, because it would be them paying the extra tax.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, frogs and boiling water.

For a start, petrol is already £6.36/gallon (£1.40/litre x 4.5), secondly, it will creep up to £7 then £7.50 then £8 and so on, and we'll just grin and bear it.

That said, fuel duty is an excellent tax from a Georgist perspective, so I'm not complaining. Also, fewer cars = more space for Waddy to whizz round!

Bayard said...

Sorry, my brain wasn't switched on, I meant £5 a litre. The last time there was a spike in the oil price, I recall that there was a definite falling-off of use of oil. I remember a picture of a fishing boat with a jury-rigged mast and sails adorning an article on the effects of the then high price.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, people have done in depth studies. People cut back a lot if there is a sudden price spike, but then get used to it and start buying again. If prices drift up, they barely notice.

Robin Smith said...

@Wadsworth I love your nativity. Studies are things done NOT to find the right answer. Especially govt ones. Makes it look like something's being done without having to do anything.

I think your look for the term 'price elasticity' @Bayard

Bayard said...

RS, has Mark got the Christmas decorations up already?

Mark Wadsworth said...

RS, thanks, but I actually go for secular Xmas dec's - lights, tree tinsel etc. I don't inlcude religious references.

Robin Smith said...

@MW hahaha

You are certainly religious. A classic Christian. But do not worry. 2000 years of conditioning makes it hard not to be. It's not clear if you're aware of it though.